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Enda says 'it's not an easy day' but here's what to expect in the junior ministerial reshuffle

There’s only two names listed in the Minister of State ranks at the moment…

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Updated 9.30am 

THE GOVERNMENT IS expected to confirm the full make-up of its junior ministerial ranks today, with the creation of new post – focusing on rural affairs – expected to go to a Labour TD.

Speaking this morning at government buildings, the Taoiseach said that himself and Tánaiste Joan Burton were looking to reinvigorate the government.

“It’s not an easy day, I have to say,” he told reporters as he prepares to drop some ministers but promote others from the backbenches.

He added: “What we are trying to do is refresh our team and have a really strong motivated government in the interests of the job that we have to do.”

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that he “didn’t know” how extensive the reshuffle would be.

The list of current ministers has already been altered on the Department of the Taoiseach’s website since Friday’s Cabinet reshuffle — with only Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe and the demoted Jimmy Deenihan currently featured.

Source: Dept of Taoiseach

Changes already known 

A number of TDs have been promoted to full ministers: namely Alan Kelly, who moved from his role as public transport minister to take over at the Department of the Environment; Paschal Donohoe, who left his ‘Europe’ post to head the Department of Transport; former Health junior minister Alex White, who is now Communications Minister, and Jan O’Sullivan — now helming Education, having departed the Housing junior ministry.

Kathleen Lynch – the junior minister at the Department of Health – is to stay in her role and will also take over responsibility for primary care, new Tánaiste Joan Burton confirmed at the weekend.

Cabinet Reshuffle. The Minister of State John Perry's job is in jeopardy Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

And while there are a raft of names across both parties being tipped for promotion, it’s thought Sligo-North Leitrim Fine Gael John Perry — currently the Minister of State for Small Business — could be dropped from the ranks, following the elevation of Labour’s Ged Nash to ‘super junior’ minister at the Department of Jobs.

The creation of the new junior ministry with responsibility for rural affairs was one of 34 recommendations made by a commission set up to examine economic development in rural areas, chaired by former Gaelic footballer Pat Spillane.

It is also thought that a junior ministry in the Department of Social Protection will be created to help Joan Burton with her workload now she is Tánaiste in addition to Social Protection Minister.

In the running

Both coalition parties have a number of factors to consider but share common issues like the need to promote youth, bolster the number of female ministers and to include Dublin-based deputies.

Labour TDs in contention for a promotion include Ann Phelan, Arthur Spring and deputy leadership candidates Michael McCarthy and Ciara Conway. Dublin-based deputies like Kevin Humphreys and John Lyons are also said to be in the running.

Nicky McFaddens Funerals Scenes Simon Harris (left) and Eoghan Murphy (right) will hope to become ministers later today. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Fine Gael’s reshuffle is expected to focus on bringing a number of women onto the ministerial benches with Mary Mitchell-O’Connor and Regina Doherty considered the most likely to be promoted.

Others being considered include Dara Murphy, Damien English, Liam Twomey and Simon Harris. Dublin TDs like Eoghan Murphy are also said to be under consideration.

The senior coalition partner is likely to retain control of the two of the most prestigious junior ministries – Minister of State at the Department of Finance (vacated by newly-elected MEP Brian Hayes) and Minister of State for European Affairs (vacated by new Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe).

Additional reporting Hugh O’Connell, Paul Hosford and Órla Ryan.

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